The Danger of Radiation

5g-radiation

What is Radiation

Radiation is energy that comes from a source and travels through space and may be able to penetrate various materials. Light, radio, and microwaves are types of radiation that are called nonionizing. The kind of radiation discussed in this document is called ionizing radiation because it can produce charged particles (ions) in matter.

Ionizing radiation is produced by unstable atoms. Unstable atoms differ from stable atoms because unstable atoms have an excess of energy or mass or both. Radiation can also be produced by high-voltage devices (e.g., x-ray machines). The most common form of radiation we are all familiar with is visible light. Light is energy that originates from a source and travels through space at the speed of … light! It has a particular wavelength and frequency that defines its energy.

We can detect this radiation with our eyes. The only difference between various colors of light, red, yellow, green, blue, and purple is in their wavelength or frequency, or in other words in their energy. Red light, for example, has less energy than purple light.

There is a wide range of electromagnetic radiation in nature. The visible part of the spectrum is only a tiny part of this wide range of energies.

As we move down in frequency from red light, there are other familiar forms of electromagnetic radiation:

  • Infrared
  • Microwaves
  • Signals from our cell phones
  • Radio waves

Atoms with unstable nuclei are said to be radioactive. In order to reach stability, these atoms give off, or emit, the excess energy or mass. These emissions are called radiation. The kinds of radiation are electromagnetic (like light) and particulate (i.e., mass given off with the energy of motion). Gamma radiation and x rays are examples of electromagnetic radiation. Gamma radiation originates in the nucleus while x rays come from the electronic part of the atom. Beta and alpha radiation are examples of particulate radiation.

It travels in the form of energy waves or high-speed particles. Radiation can occur naturally or be man-made.
There are two types:

  • Non-ionizing radiation, which includes radio waves, cell phones, microwaves, infrared radiation and visible light
  • Ionizing radiation, which includes ultraviolet radiation, radon, x-rays, and gamma rays.

What are the health effects of radiation exposure?

Radiation has been around us throughout our evolution. So our bodies are designed to deal with the low levels we’re exposed to every day. But too much radiation can damage tissues by changing cell structure and damaging DNA. This can cause serious health problems, including cancer.

The amount of damage that exposure to radiation can cause depends on several factors, including

  • The type of radiation
  • The dose (amount) of radiation
  • How you were exposed, such as through skin contact, swallowing or breathing it in, or having rays pass through your body
  • Where the radiation concentrates in the body and how long it stays there
  • How sensitive your body is to radiation. A fetus is most vulnerable to the effects of radiation. Infants, children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to health effects than healthy adults.

Sources:
http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/whatisradiation.htm
https://medlineplus.gov/radiationexposure.html
https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/spectrum.html